Think of a time when you wanted to do more with your life, but had no idea where to begin. Aside from setting goals and planning a strategy, it might be fruitful to ask for help. “You can read books and go to seminars, but if you’re not connecting with people who take you to the next level, you won’t get there,” says Bonnie St. John, a motivational speaker, career coach, and author. “The only way we can exceed our limitations is to ask for help from other people.” So why don’t more of us simply ask?
St. John, too, has been entertaining the idea of taking her business to the next level by having her own television show as well as expanding her book publishing. “I want to move from inspiring thousands of people to millions of people,” says the author of three self-help books including Succeeding Sane: Making Room for Joy in a Crazy World (Simon & Schuster; $18.95) and Money: Fall Down? Get Up! (St. John Deane; $28.90).
For example, to bolster her publishing career, St. John got a new literary agent. “I reached out to friends who are authors and interviewed five agents [before I decided on one],” she says. Even though she only spent about a month networking, researching, and interviewing, she was thankful for the experience because “it was about networking to find the right person who’s really going to be a good partner in the process.”
Seeking help isn’t a sign of weakness, but one of strength. Here are a few more pointers to help you succeed:
Speak to experts, not friends. It’s good to consult with a coach “to help you be accountable on a regular basis,” says St. John. A mentor on the other hand is someone who is seasoned, has had the same experience, and can offer wisdom.
Network. It’s tantamount to your career to know who the key players are in your industry. Once you know who they are, get involved with organizations and clubs that they belong to and become their friends.
Talk to your HR department. That’s right, your human resources department may be able to offer support toward your goals. Some even offer career coaching resources.
Try peer coaching. Enlist colleagues with similar goals to help you stay on track. In addition, you can play off of each other’s strengths. For example, if you are more adept at networking while your partner handles the logistics, let that work to your advantage.
Look for people outside of your organization. You should always have allies inside of your company, but those outside of your organization may work best for coaching because they can really be blunt about what’s working and what’s not. To find a coach near you, take a look at the resources box.
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